The Narcissist and Threats

threats

Narcissists use threats. They are part of the manipulative armoury that we possess. Do all narcissists use them, if so, is there any difference between the schools of narcissist? What are the purposes of the threats? What is the aim of the narcissist in using a threat? What should you be looking out for? How worried should you be?

The Lesser Narcissist

The Lesser Narcissist does not use threat extensively. Where the Lesser Narcissist does so, the nature of the threat will be rudimentary and sledgehammer in nature and moreover if a threat is issued then if it is to be executed it will occur pretty soon after the issuing of the threat.

Like all forms of manipulation, we use manipulations in order to exert control over you and primarily to gain fuel. There may be the acquisition of residual benefits (e.g. payment of money, use of equipment, keeping quiet about something) also.

Our need for control is absolute. Constant and utterly necessary. This applies across all schools but manifests in different ways.

This need for control is all about the instant, the here and the now. It is not about last week and it is not about in a month’s time. This is why most manipulations must be instantaneous and why (save for the Greater) they are instinctive and not calculated.

With regard to the Lesser Narcissist, his repertoire of manipulations is the narrowest and the least sophisticated. It is hallmarked by verbal violence, physical and sexual violence and destruction of property. Other manipulations (for example silent treatments, triangulation, word salad and so forth ) are indeed used but are rudimentary in their appearance and application.

All narcissists face two control threats.

  1. Wounding. This causes the ignition of fury which is an instinctive response hard-wired into us. The Lesser will respond usually with heated fury, The Mid Ranger usually with cold fury and the Greater with either albeit the Greater is able to keep the fury response under control in many instances ( thus marking the difference between the Greater and other narcissists); and
  2. The issuing of Challenge Fuel.

In either of these instances, the narcissist will respond with a manipulative response.

Accordingly, in the instance of the Lesser, what is the instinctive response to the need to address this control issue when it comes to the question of issuing threats.

The Lesser does not use threat extensively. This is because he needs a quick fix to the issue of control AND he does not have much in the toolbox to address this issue of control. The lower cognitive function, the lowest control threshold on ignited fury and the Lesser’s toolkit containing mainly heated fury responses results in threat not being the most effective response for the Lesser.

Threat will be used, but infrequently and will appear in such forms as

You had better come home now or I will beat the shit out of you.

You had better stay in tonight you bitch or I will whip your sorry ass.

I am going to smash your face in you ugly fucker.

You had better do as I say or I will slash your tyres.

Note the nature of these threats – verbal insult, physical violence and/or damage to property. They are not sophisticated.

The Lesser will make good on the threat if he or she can do so in the immediacy of issuing the threat. Accordingly, if you are trying to go out for an evening with friends and the Lesser decrees that you had better stay in or he will whip your sorry ass and he tells you this as he stands in the bedroom as you are getting ready there also, he will move to execute the threat if you do not back down and become compliant. Accordingly, any threat which is made to you when the Lesser is physically proximate to you presents a clear and real danger. If you are able to remove yourself physically you should do so, if not, you should aim to back down (allowing the narcissist to gain control) so the need for the execution of the threat subsides. If you wound (by making to leave) or issue further Challenge Fuel (‘I am going out you fat slob and you cannot stop me), you can expect the threat to be executed.

If the narcissist is not physically proximate then the likelihood of the threat will reduce. If he is 100 yards away and has telephoned you or messaged you issuing the threat, you can expect a high risk of execution of the threat BUT if the Lesser Narcissist cannot actually get to you (and/or your property) or has to travel some distance to execute the threat (say drive across town) then the likelihood of the threat being executed will be reduced considerably. If necessary, report the threat (particularly if it is contained in credible evidence (someone impartial witnessed it or it is written or recorded). However, the Lesser is far less likely to execute the threat because:-

  1. Lesser’s prefer (instinctively) to expend the least amount of resource and therefore having to do so to execute the threat means it is less likely to be executed;
  2. Their need for fuel means they will seek it from a closer appliance rather than (instinctively) risk no fuel and wounding by trying to get to you when it is difficult to do so.

Accordingly, a Lesser is far more likely to just do something (hit you, smash things up, insult you) than issue a threat. Where a threat is issued expect its execution within a very short time thereafter and if it has not been executed within that time frame it is highly unlikely to be executed. The Lesser will have turned to an alternative appliance and exerted control over you by not engaging with you further, thus withdrawal is an assertion of control. The fuel issue is met by an alternative appliance. Thus your participation in the need for control and fuel becomes redundant – until the next occasion you cause wounding or issue Challenge Fuel.

Thus, expect the Lesser to act immediately. Threats are not often used and if they are action will either follow soon after or not at all. The threat will not be subtle, it will be brutal and obvious. The lack of façade management and rudimentary approach also means that the Lesser (where threat is used) will invariably allow you an opportunity to gather useful evidence to use against the Lesser within the forum of legal proceedings.

The Mid Range Narcissist

The Mid Range Narcissist is the greatest user of threat. It is used often, it may be grandiose in nature, it may be subtle and lack specificity and often contains with it plausible deniability. It often is issued through the application of a third party. Examples would include

You should make sure you come back home because if you don’t I am going to tell all your friends about how you have been mis-treating me.

Bad things happen to people who cross me.

I am going to make your life hell, little lady.

If you don’t do it, I will post those pictures of you so your kids see them.

You should know better than to mess with someone like me. I am dangerous.

That was not very clever. You should watch your back from now on.

Nobody does that to me. I will make you pay.

I am going to get the police onto you for what you have done.

If you don’t give me my possessions back I will tell your parents and what will they think of their little angel then?

Note in those examples the lack of specifics in many of them. That is a very Mid Range trait. The Mid Range Narcissist’s grandiosity is such that he wants to cultivate the image of being some manipulative mastermind but there is no actual evidence of them ever having done so and they are unable to state precisely what it is that they will do. Some Mid Range Narcissists claim to be the puppeteering Svengali but when you try to gain specifics about how they operate in this way they will be woefully short on any detail. You are misled into thinking they know what they are, but they do not know. They do not know they are Mid Range, they think they are a Greater and they are not.

Mid Range Narcissists very rarely execute threats. Here is why :-

  1. For the MRN, the power of this manipulation is in the threat not its execution;
  2. Execution takes effort, energy and balls. MRN want to save effort, conserve energy and they have small, shrivelled balls because they are passive, aggressive cowards;
  3. Whilst the execution of a threat is not pleasant, once it has been executed the power has gone. The MRN instinctively knows this. By keeping the threat hanging over you, it is far more powerful.
  4. The lack of specifics works in the MRN’s favour. Again this is instinctive and it causes considerable fear in the victim because this lack of knowledge as to what might happen sends paranoia and fear into overdrive (heightened by emotional thinking) and thus makes it more effective.
  5. Façade management. The MRN believes themselves to be a decent person and therefore by not acting on the threat, the façade is more likely to be preserved.
  6. Wariness of legal transgression. Although the MRN’s sense of entitlement and lack of accountability means he or she believes himself to be above the law and their actions are always justified, their increased cognitive function means that they have an instinctive awareness that issuing blunt threats and carrying out any threats would have negative consequences (damage to façade, interruption to fuel matrix etc – again all instinctively known).
  7. Grandiosity. The MRN likes to think that he is some dark Macchiavellian character and this lends itself to issuing amorphous and grand sounding threats, which are in fact empty.

Again whilst you should always treat a threat seriously and report it if you have independent credible evidence. Note that if you do not have independent evidence the MRN, operating with a façade, some charm and higher cognitive function will, when challenged about the threat on a he said/she said basis :-

  1. Deny it (First Line of the Narcissist’s Defence);
  2. Blameshift by accusing you of being the troublemaker.
  3. Deflect. Suggest that you have made it up, misunderstood, misheard and utilise plausible deniability.
  4. Capitalise on your emotional state if you are presenting in an upset, frazzled ranting manner. The narcissist will invariably be calm and feign horror at such an accusation.
  5. Roll out the façade – rely on their pillar of the community status, friendship with the mayor, standing as a well-regarded professional and use Lieutenants and the Coterie to support this and undermine you making future complaints all the more difficult for you to progress.

You should not waste precious time and energy worrying about a threat from a Mid Range Narcissist being carried out. They are far more likely to want to keep the threat alive. However, never call their bluff as this is Challenge Fuel and might just tip the balance so the necessity of control DEMANDS a move from threat to execution. You are better served reporting it and not reacting directly to it and certainly do not waste time worrying about it. Remember, the aim of the threat is to gain control and fuel. If you do not provide fuel, you do not offer any further challenge then the narcissist will be forced to seek fuel elsewhere and the need for the exertion of control will pass.

The Greater Narcissist

The Greater Narcissist does not issue threats.

We execute instead and invariably quite some time later and out of left field so you do not even realise what has happened.

We do not forewarn you. That hands you power and control and we must not do that.

Instead, we know that you know what we are capable of. We let you create the threats in your mind instead. That is powerful in itself, completely deniable and highly effective and then when you think the risk has passed we carry out the act.

Our ability to control ignited fury means we can seek fuel elsewhere and log your transgression so that retribution is visited at a later juncture.

(If you require assistance in understanding threats issued by an individual, how you should respond and what might happen, this is something I repeatedly address for people through consultations – do use the links below)

Narc Detector Consultation

E-Mail Consultation

Audio Consultation

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58 Comments

  1. Mid-range narcissists really are a bunch of spineless bastards. And yet, they manage to ensnare empath after empath.
    I, myself, have been ensnared by MRs numerous times. I always fall for their facade.
    Awww, isn’t he sweet? Isn’t he caring? Isn’t he smart? Then I start engaging with them and get repulsed. So much so I can’t stand having them next to me because I feel sick.

    I physically attacked two of my ex MRs and offered another one chocolate and painkillers given how cranky and sensitive he was.

    I hate them.

  2. Spot on HG! The MRN used threats when other manipulations weren’t working as well as he hoped or for shock value so that I would comply. Wish I had known that he was unlikely to follow through, would have saved me a lot of heartache. Though towards the end of the entanglement I knew he didn’t have the balls to actually execute his threats, but it still took me lots of energy not to fall for the threat. Another brilliant article HG.

  3. The following is an email sent to me as part of a chain conversation between family members regarding the care of my mother for whom I was CoPoA with my heinous sister. I use the word conversation loosely because there is only one narrative allowed to be heard. Please, note the last sentence in paragraph two ($200,000 motive) and the last sentence in paragraph three (threat). Of course, the rest of the email is one big, absolute lie and distortion of the facts and truths. And, how does one disprove that which did not happen? Also note, never does this person ever address me by name, as if I am so insignificant. I had 50 fucking years of this treatment on and off. Yes, I did fight back sometimes, and sometimes retreat, or scream and curse
    A question for you HG: When is it time to leave the past in the past? Every time I read your blog a current of revelation floods my mind.

    Tue, Jul 7, 2015 at 8:53 AM

    I believe that you are the one trying to set all the rules. I can “handle” Mom as well as anyone; no one person can take care of Mom, in the condition she is currently in now. You have already told me that you do not need any help, and you are not planning on getting any. So I am not comfortable putting either of you in a difficult situation. In addition, based on my experience last summer, you did not allow us to see Mom easily. Are you really prepared to allow all our siblings and the kids visit Mom in your home?
    It is my opinion that you are the one dictating what is happening, based on the fact that you control me and my family by revoking your help when it has been previously promised, and making no offers to help take care of Mom at all. You are completely welcome to be “involved;” I welcome the help. I am spending Mom’s money to get help at home, when you could come for a few hours to help me take care of her. In fact, you are the one in possession of the money that we would need to support Mom for the long term.
    I also disagree with your version of how I treat you. You scream and curse at me, and hang up the phone repeatedly. There is absolutely no opportunity to have a civil conversation with you or “work together.” You do not answer your phone, and you do not call back.
    And, lastly, my siblings are your siblings. You are the one who has cut everybody off. I would like to see as many of us as possible, work together for Mom’s benefit. These are Mom’s last years; I would like her to have some peace. Let’s not turn this into a costly legal problem.

    1. If addressing the past means breaching the first golden rule of freedom because you will be engaging with the narcissist in some form, then you must leave the matter in the past or have someone else deal with it on your behalf.

      1. Thank you HG! I understand and am working the Zero Impact Program. I must obliterate the magical thinking that plagues the ET.

        HG Tudor
        AUGUST 8, 2018 AT 22:38
        There comes a point where you understand the past and therefore you must leave the past where it is, rather than continue to examine it.

  4. Thanks HG from me too. I’ve changed my internal moniker for him from Fuckboy Dim to Chocolate Coated Small Shrivelled Balls. Admittedly longer, but far more satisfying!!!!

  5. Quite a timely blog entry, this one…

    Met her today, sort of work-related stuff.
    I just said “Hi” and ignored her. I was a bit disturbed inside, but no more fear, no more desire. Maybe somewhat annoyed (not angry), since I did not expect her today.
    I retreated a bit (physically) and focused on something else, she retreated also and continued to discuss for a while with some other people, and then left. Maybe I am just imagining it, but I think she left a bit earlier than usually.

    Yes, MRNs seem to be cowards…

    1. Abe Moline,
      Good for you… sounds like you’ve made a lot of progress.

      (MRNs — meh).

  6. HG, I don’t recall receiving threats. Is it possible that cerebral narcissists had a different way of doing this?

      1. Thank you, HG! Can you please provide an example of a threat in a subtle manner?
        There is a bit that I didn’t notice but I had always assumed a threat would be one I would notice.

  7. Thank you HG. Your mrn explanation gave me such peace of mind.
    Thank you. Thank you.

  8. HG you are amazing midrange narcissists have Shrivelled up balls because they are cowards lmfao. That totally made my day so funny

  9. I might not be able to sleep tonight in anticipation of another new article. Pleeeeeeeeeeaaaaaasssseee sir!
    I will do anything!

      1. Yep, I said that one time. Big mistake. AW wanted to know what I would do. Like specifics. It went to a dark place of “would you kill for me?” And I was like errrr, maybe not ANYTHING! Yikes! Awkward! I’ll never utter that again.

    1. Hi Alexissmith2016,
      I did so many “anythings” for a dozen toxic types in my life and my sense of well being has forever been destroyed because of this conduct. I know you are just playing with HG, but his response reminded me what a stupid, pitiful, woefully needy, and damaged person I allowed myself to be. Perhaps, I did not know any better. Perhaps, it is an inherent part of who I am.

      1. Ah E&L don’t be hard on yourself. What’s done is done. It’s just a memory now, nothing more, nothing less.

        It’s sadly an empathic trait to give more or ourselves to others than we do ourselves. I’m certain everyone on here has done that, you’re not alone. We’re totally united in this.

        but you can create boundaries now. You don’t need to utter those words ever again! Let those narcissistic traits shine and take care of yourself. Xxx

  10. “they have small, shrivelled balls because they are passive, aggressive cowards;”

    Bahahaha This was hilarious.

  11. The description for Mid Range is spot on for my narc, thank you.

    Also, this cracked me up… “they have small, shrivelled balls because they are passive, aggressive cowards;…” Teeheehee. I will keep that in the forefront of my mind lmao

  12. HG, that picture actually gave me chills. It represents the narcissist. How they show you a little bit of themselves on the surface, and it’s beautiful, but what hides below the surface is truly ominous.

      1. Dearest HG and KellyD: I loved the picture selection, as well. I understood fully.

  13. This is very good. I was wondering these days how serious one should take threats done by narcissists and here are the answers. Thank you, HG.

    None of my narcs used threats; at least I do not recall they doing so.

    1. Hello Lou, I read a comment from you the other day, it seems the people that you were in contact with weren’t that obvious, didn’t have some of the main Ns traits and mostly treated you well. Can I ask what tipped you off?

      1. Hello Narc noob. Apologies, this is going to be a bit long. I will try to be brief though.
        I had two main romantic relationships with narcissists. The first narcissist was much more sophisticated, as a person, than the second one but also more obvious in his NPD than the second one. As I said in my comment, neither of them ever lashed out, insulted me, disappeared, etc. The first one, however, did love bomb me, made subtle put down remarks, and used triangulation extensively (both with other women and objects). He also future faked me a lot.
        The second narc, however, was much less obvious, at least to me. He was heavily dyslexic (I am convinced he was not faking it) but he learned to use his dyslexia to get attention and emotional reactions, both positive and negative, from people around him. He never stopped talking to me for more than one hour, but often he would not reply to my questions for some seconds pretending to be in his dyslexic world. I would need to repeat myself constantly to have a reaction from him and that was frustrating (fuel). This was very subtle but constant. So communication with him was difficult, which was a form of isolation and control. He never really love bombed me (although we did have fun together doing a lot of things) and I never really felt devalued (with the exception of a few stupid remarks but nothing really constant). It was HG’s post “Why does he seem so odd or like a different person” where he talks about the stranger or neutral setting that gave me a clue. He is in this setting most of the time. He could be charming and funny too, especially when we were with friends, never really nasty. Always calm, but annoying. Also, the image he has of himself made him be a convincing “decent” fair guy. And for everything he did that annoyed me, he would compensate with a nice one, which made it confusing (and fuel gathering).
        I must also say that his way to manipulate was new for me. I knew triangulation very well because my mother used it constantly. So that made me get out of the relationship with the first narcissist relatively quickly. But with the second guy everything was knew, so I always thought I was not being patient with him.
        So, what tipped me off with the second guy was the annoyance he made me feel constantly, his robot like ways, the reactions he got from people around him, his inability to have real intimacy (by making communication very difficult), and his family history (enough there to cause NPD).

        1. Thanks Lou. That’s one hell of a case and sounds like a hard one to crack. Good for you though, and thanks for explaining! I have a bit of work to do myself. I can relate somewhat to your example. Cheers.

  14. HG, will you be recording these new articles for our listening pleasure? I enjoy hearing your various acting voices. This will be a good one!

  15. HG—this is brilliant. I had this sort of picture accumulated in my mind as an aggregate knowledge base from reading your work, but this is a succinct representation of how their “capabilities” vary. Excellent for any domestic violence providers/therapists/etc. As you may recall—my oldest daughter bought a house/moved out. In her room we found a butcher knife and it jogged my mind back a bit.. She was so afraid of my ex by means of his general toxicity and she felt she needed this. His possibilities were essentially vacant in terms of physical harm as he is a cowardly mid-range narcissist. What happens is the psychological mismanagement of a victim’s response perpetuated by our lack of education and understanding when under their sphere of influence. They become larger than life because of the daily abuse and misinterpretations of their capabilities. I have always been afraid of “what he may do” which kept me paralyzed to stay for fear of losing the kids. As you have beat into me—look at the evidence. The evidence supports he signed them away to be with me 70% of the time. On paper—his signature.

  16. Your assessment of the MRN is so spot on from all angles…energy lacking pricks.
    By the way…good morning H G

      1. MB: I am amazed that people know when an article is new. It means you have read so many of them, over time. I am trying, and have read many, including the audios, but so many still seem new to me. I will be glad when I finally reach the point to know that one is new.

        1. PSE, you will get there. And just because you’ve read them before, don’t let that deter you from reading them again. Depending on where you are, you will get different perspectives on the same article. You cannot drill the information into your brain too much. The sheer amount of information is overwhelming at first. I remember reading so much my brain hurt. Especially with all the new words HG was teaching me! Take it in bite-sized chunks and repeat, repeat.

          I’m glad you’re here with us. I hope you realize you’ve made some new friends. Hell, it’s been like a virtual slumber party up in here! (Complete with Dad having to call us down.). First one that falls asleep gets her bra frozen!

  17. Perfect timing! Today I am actually filing protective orders against my ex because of his threats.

  18. ‘We do not forewarn you. That hands you power and control and we must not do that.

    Instead, we know that you know what we are capable of. We let you create the threats in your mind instead. That is powerful in itself, completely deniable and highly effective and then when you think the risk has passed we carry out the act’.

    Can an UMR operate in this fashion also? or only a greater?

    1. The UMR will come close to it but cannot help but still engage in issuing some threat, albeit in a subtle fashion.

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